Refresh Your Personal Brand with These 10 Résumé Tips
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Writing a résumé or even updating one is a full-day job. But the process is a lot of fun because it gives you a chance to rebrand yourself completely. It allows you to reflect on your professional achievements and identify areas of improvement.
I recently updated my résumé, and I realized I didn't promote myself enough because I had no idea about my value contributions until I listed them down. This is what happens when you get stuck in a rut.
Here are 10 tried-and-tested tips to follow when you update your résumé:
1. Study Your Professional Network on LinkedIn
Your peers are your biggest inspiration, and LinkedIn has made it possible for you to analyze how they promote themselves. Check out their summaries, individual job descriptions (a gold mine!), their software proficiency, and the certifications they hold. This is a great place to start if you are building a résumé from scratch.
2. Mine LinkedIn for Keywords
This is a hack that has done wonders for me. If there's a job opening I am interested in on LinkedIn, I pick up keywords used in the description and add those to my résumé, preferably in the summary, headline, and skills section.
3. Quantify Your Achievements
At the start of my career, I made the mistake of only listing my responsibilities and excluding my actual achievements (i.e., the value I brought to the company). Here's a classic example of what you should or shouldn't do:
Wrong: Responsible for writing weekly blogs
Right: Increased website traffic by 40% over six months
Put your skills to work; add numbers and details to emphasize that and give hiring managers a tangible sense of your skill set.
4. Use Reverse-Chronological Order
Start from your most recent (or current) employment and work your way back. Under your Education section, place your highest degree first.
5. Combine Early Job Experience and Short-Tenure Jobs
If you have switched several jobs in a short period, it is best to merge them in your résumé. I changed my first three jobs in four months, after which I stuck with one company for several years.
I still briefly mention the first two jobs on my résumé, but the emphasis is more on what I achieved rather than the period I stayed with them. If you have 10-15 years of experience, don't mention such short-tenures or positions you held a decade ago. Focus on the now.
6. Pick the Right Font and Font Size
Don't use childish fonts like Papyrus and Comic Sans in your résumé; a hiring manager might toss it in the trash! Instead, stick to professionally appealing Arial, Verdana, and Calibri. Depending on what you choose, keep the font size between 10-12 points so that a hiring manager can easily read your résumé.
7. Format Your Résumé Strategically
Make your subheadings bold and use bullet points and italicize a handful of words. The point is to make important information easier to find.
Also, incorporate two to three colors (preferably shades of blue, green, and gray) in the document. And if possible, create your résumé on Canva. It has beautiful templates for different job roles. I also like the variety available on Hloom.
8. Be Concise in Your Wording
A one-page résumé is ideal. If it runs to two pages, that's fine, too. But anything more than that is a strict no. Make sure every word or bullet point you have included in the document is necessary. Edit your résumé summary and remove any sections (such as hobbies) that are irrelevant to the job opportunity.
9. Share Your Contact Details
If you maintain a professional website or blog, include the URL in your contact section. Add any relevant social media handles, as well. For most professionals, LinkedIn and Twitter URLs are enough. However, if you run an active Instagram or Pinterest account that would interest a prospective employer, also include those details.
10. Match Your Cover Letter to Your Résumé
Many recruiters don't read a cover letter. But even if they don't specifically ask for it, it's best to include a note of introduction within the email text. Therefore, whether you make variations of your résumé or apply for different job roles, your email draft/cover letter must tell the hiring manager one cohesive story.
After all the hard work you've put into creating your résumé, you can't afford to have grammatical errors or typos, so be sure to proofread it. Finding a job is an exciting process. If you are armed with a solid résumé, bagging the right opportunity will be a breeze.
Note: September is International Update Your Resume Month. To celebrate, freshen up your CV and use the hashtag #UpdateYourResumeMonth. Tag CircleAround on social media when you do, and we'll highlight your posts and tweets!